A Call Unlike the Others
In the three synoptic Gospels, Jesus calls fishermen to go "fishing" with him; unlike John, which has Jesus gathering disciples from other rabbis or from people passing by. Doctor Luke's detailed account is unlike the Reader's Digest versions we have from Mark and Matthew - Luke emphasizes relationship building (Luke 4:38-5:11).
1. Jesus first heals Simon's Mother-in-Law.
2. Jesus then asks Simon for a favor, so Simon takes Jesus out in his boat.
3. Simon's business partners, James and John, take their boat out as well, because Simon does.
4. After Jesus completes his sermon to those on the shore, he suggests that the fishermen lower their nets.
5. Even though everyone is tired, and the best fishing is not in the middle of the day, Simon agrees because he and Jesus have developed a relationship of trust.
6. So many fish fill the nets, that there is a danger of the boats being swamped. Simon recognizes that Jesus is more than just a Teacher and Healer, and he honors him. The others, who do not yet know Jesus, are frightened.
7. Jesus calms them, and tells them to not be afraid.
8. Only then, does Jesus call them to follow him.
"'Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.' When they had their boats back to shore, they left everything and followed him." (Luke 5:10b&11)
When we evangelize and when we invite, how often do we just follow the abbreviated versions from Mark and Matt, instead of pursuing the more time-consuming personal investment of Luke's relationship building? How often are we disappointed that our invitation is unheard?
(painting by Eugene Isabey)